L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Obscene posters dot city
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, March 16
Obscene posters are out again. Although the posters had vanished for sometime after the administration launched a crackdown last year, these have started to come up again. Cinema owners, however, maintain that there was nothing obscene in these as these were promotional posters supplied by film distributors.

Most of the prominent places like the Domoria bridge, the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road, various bus stops, markets and even walls of houses can be seen pasted with obscene posters. The posters can be seen even outside colleges and schools as these are apparently aimed at targeting the students.

Last year, the administration had asked the cinema owners to remove the posters and a warning was issued that strict action would be taken against them.

Ms Neha Avasthi, a homemaker, complained that her house was near a cinema where adult movies were screened most of the time. The owners pasted indecent posters on walls near her house. “The owners are pasting indecent posters, ignoring their social responsibilities. I have two grownup daughters and they feel awkward while going out,” she said.

Meanwhile, one of the cinema owners, who did not wish to be identified, said they were paying fees to the Municipal Corporation for pasting posters. “It is not that we intend to paste such posters only. The posters of most of the Hindi movies are like that. We have to publicise the movie, so we paste the posters to attract the moviegoers,” said the owner.

Under the Punjab Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, there is a provision of punishment of imprisonment up to six months. Action can also be taken under Section 292 of the IPC, which prohibits circulation of such pamphlets and posters.

The residents have demanded that the administration should conduct surprise checking in various areas regularly so that cinema owners do not violate the Act.



Busy MP disappoints physically challenged teenager
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Two years after he was directed by the President of the All India Congress Committee, Ms Sonia Gandhi to contact the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, to get help from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund, 19-year-old Pritpal, who is polio afflicted, was allegedly turned out of the Chief Minister residence at Patiala yesterday as the CM’s, wife and Member Parliament, Ms Perneet Kaur had no time for him.

Shaken by the rude behaviour, Pritpal, who had travelled to Patiala by bus despite his handicap, had to returned empty handed. ‘‘I had shown the attendants a copy of the letter by Ms Sonia Gandhi asking the Chief Minister to help me. But they did not listen to me and said that his wife was busy in a meeting and could not meet me,’’ he said.

Pritpal had approached the Congress chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi for help two years ago, who had in turn asked the Chief Minister to give him some relief. In her letter (dated April 4, 2002) to Mr Moti Lal Vohra, Treasurer, AICC, Ms Archna Dalmia, Secretary, AICC, had stated that the Congress President wanted that the youth should be given some help. She had asked Mr Vohra to write to the Chief Minister in this regard.

Mr Vohra had sent the letter to the Chief Minister stating that the physically challenged youth should be given some relief. A copy of it was sent to Pritpal also for perusal of the case. Since then he had been waiting for help from the Chief Minister.

The Tribune had highlighted his plight some months ago following which a local NGO, Viklang Sahayata Kendra, (VSK), a unit of the Bhartiya Vikas Parishad had offered to help Pritpal for setting up a photostat shop in order to make him financially independent. The organisation had agreed to buy a xerox copier machine worth Rs 60,000 for him and had provided him calipers free of cost.

Now Pritpal does not have a place to put up the xerox machine. It is very difficult for him to buy a shop in a city like Ludhiana where prices of property are very high. This had made him knock at the door of the Chief Minister yesterday. But all got was disappointment. ‘‘When they come asking for votes they become very sweet and sugary but when they are in power they think they are above common man, ’’ said an incensed Pritpal adding, ‘‘I was shooed away like a dog from the Moti Bagh Palace.’’

‘‘I had specifically gone to meet his wife thinking that women were more considerate. But all politicians are alike ’’ he said.

Pritpal, had contracted polio when he was just one-year-old. Since then he has not been able to walk properly. 



‘Water-borne diseases under control’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 16
Twenty-five cases each of jaundice and diarrhoea, most of them old ones, were reported to medical camps set up by the health administration at Karamsar Colony and a couple of localities on the Tibba road here today. Teams of doctors and para-medical staff conducted a door-to-door survey of affected colonies to get information on afflicted persons, distribute medicines and to apprise patients of preventive measures against water-borne diseases.

Doctors deployed in the area were of the view that the infection, apparently caused by contaminated water supply, was on the wane, which was further borne out by the fact that during the past four days only one person was referred to the Civil Hospital. Other local hospitals also did not report any fresh cases of jaundice during the period.

The Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Sharma, accompanied by other civic officials, went round the affected colonies and inspected the water supply network in the area. He also visited some of the houses, from where cases of jaundice and diarrhoea were reported.

Officials of the O and M wing of the corporation were also directed to take strict action against unauthorised sewer and water connections, taken by a large number of residents in these colonies.

In the meantime, the district epidemiologist, Dr Ajit Singh Chawla, said in the course of malaria prevention drive in Dr Ambedkar Nagar here, larva staff of the health department prepared 400 blood slides today. The teams were going from door to door in the colony to collect blood samples, create awareness about malaria and at the same time distribute medicines to those having fever.



‘Peer pressure lure youth towards drugs’
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 16
Peer pressure was the main reason behind the spurt in number of youths getting addicted to narcotics; this was observed during a de-addiction camp that concluded at a local hospital.

Dr Anshu Gupta, a psychiatrist, claimed that most of the addicts who came for enrolment at the opening of a de-addiction camp organised at Rohira village and concluded at Hind Hospital had just crossed the adolescent period of their lives. While most of them were enthusiastic about getting themselves rid of this evil habit but only 50 per cent came forward for the free follow-up at the hospital.

Generalising his findings, Dr Anshu disclosed that the younger generation preferred opium to poppy husk that was used by the older generation of the rural area. Use of alcohol has become a formal antidepressant he added.

“Besides falling prey to the peer group pressure the youths between age group of 25 to 30 misconceived that most of the drugs and narcotics helped in sex arousal,” opined Dr Anshu. On the hand the elders took them so that they could work for long hours. Some living a relatively tense life found these products to be tension relieving.

Commenting upon the success of the de-addiction camps, the psychiatrist held that counselling and psychiatric course were required in addition to the pharmacological treatment.

“If not checked, the evil might negate the benefits of the fast growing development of the state as it was responsible for majority of the crimes,” warned Dr Anshu.

Most of the crimes, including economic crimes, forgeries, murders and abductions had their genesis in the addiction, he added. In case of extreme social detachment the victim might commit suicide, mulled the psychiatrist.



‘Sweetmeats should be weighed without boxes’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
Sweetmeat sellers in Ludhiana have been asked to weigh the sweets without the boxes. According to the prevailing practice the sweetmeat sellers weigh the sweets along with the boxes thus making the consumers pay for the weight of the cardboard boxes at the same rate they sell the sweets.

Disclosing this here today, the District Food and Civil Supplies Controller (DFSC), Ms Simarjot Kaur, said during a meeting held here yesterday it was brought to her notice that the sweetmeat sellers were adding the weight of the boxes to the sweets thus making the consumers pay for the boxes also.

The DFSC is celebrating the consumer awareness week from March 15 to 22. She said it was decided that since the sweetmeat sellers usually mention the name of their establishment on their boxes it amounts to advertisement. Obviously it would be unjust to charge the consumers for the advertisement whose benefit the sweetmeat sellers get themselves. From now onwards they will need to first weigh the sweets and then pack it in boxes.

Ms Simarjot said the department will also go for random checking of gas agencies and petrol pumps. The gas distributors will need to place the weighing machine at their counters and also sell the cylinders after weighing these in front of the customers. 



Passing Thru

Vivek Shauq
Vivek Shauq, actor

Why do Punjabi films have loud comedy?

I think people are to be blamed to a very large extent as most of the people do not go to watch movies in theatre. They want to watch films sitting in their homes. With the result that masses form substantial audience in cinema halls. They like loud comedy and producers and directors get the feedback that such comedies sell. So loud comedy is repeated in every Punjabi comedy.

Why are regional films very popular while Punjabi films are not?

Actually in states like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, audience makes it a point to go to cinema houses to watch movies made in their mother tongue. They enjoy watching movies on big screen. For this reason piracy is also less in films made in the south whereas piracy is rampant in the north region. But Punjabis do not take pride in watching Punjabi movies? However, trend has changed recently and people have started watching Punjabi movies as good , meaningful films are being made.

— Asha Ahuja 



Residents resent inflated bills by MC
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
An error by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, (LMC), while preparing water and sewerage bills has left many residents in a quandary as they have been asked to pay last bills once again as arrears.

The inflated bills, mention the last bill as arrears and also carry fine imposed on the consumer for not paying the bills in time. The residents are making beelines to the offices of their respective zones to get the bills rectified.

A number of residents were today seen at the Zone-D office of the MC in Sarabha Nagar where they were complaining against the inflated bills. They said that despite the fact that they had documents to prove that their last bills were paid, they were issued bills with last bill amount.

“Although my bill amount was only Rs 540, I was asked to pay an amount of Rs 2100. I was shocked to see the bill. Then I went through it thoroughly and found out that it carried last term’s bill also. Now I am here to get it rectified,” said a resident who was hassled due to the problem.

“What about the harassment. They will rectify it here but will they compensate for my extra effort that I had to put in to come here?” asked another 

He added that he had paid his last bill in October last year as the billing period was for six months starting from April to September. Now again he was asked to pay the bill for that period. “Thank God that I had saved the receipt of the bill otherwise I would have suffered all the more. They can threaten to disconnect our connections anytime if we falter and if they make silly mistakes they are not even answerable.”

Meanwhile the MC has once again warned the residents to pay their bills in time otherwise the corporation would be forced to cut the connections of the defaulters.

Dr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner in a signed statement said that the bills should be paid on or before the due date of paying the bill. He urged the residents to deposit the charges for water connection or sewer disposal within the stipulated time. Otherwise the connections would be disconnected and legal action will be taken against them.

He also urged that the people who have not deposited their bills earlier may do so within given time.



MCPI conference on April 2, 3
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
The fourth state delegate conference of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) is being organised in the historic land of martyrs, Longowal village, in Sangrur district on April 2 and 3, 2005. About 200 delegates from all over the state will participate in this two-day delegate session. The conference will be addressed by Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, all-India general secretary of the MCPI besides other prominent state leaders.

Stating this here yesterday, state secretary of the MCPI, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said the delegates would deliberate on “imperialist globalisation” and its negative effects on Indian economy, communalism and obscurantism obscuring scientific outlook in society, goondaism, vandalism and the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab, obscene culture and literature with ill effects of western culture on our society, money and muscle power and its effect on the electoral system, including irregularities and rigging in elections, problems of unemployment, health system, education and rising prices, police atrocities, individual and state terrorism, defence of civil-liberties and human rights, social repression of Dalits, women and other weaker sections of society, demands of peasants, farm workers and industrial workers, youth and students and the solution of territorial, water and linguisitic problems and issues pending since long.

A draft report relating to the Punjab situation in the context of the national and international situation will also be placed for adoption in the session. Elections to the new state committee will be held on April 3 on the last day of the session, Mr Kuldip Singh said.



BSNL employees begin relay fast
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 16
In response to a call given by the United Forum of BSNL Executives, comprising the Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA) and the BSNL Executives Association (BSNLEA), telecom officers sat on a dharna and also resorted to a relay fast in front of the office of the General Manager, Telecom, here today in support of their pending demands.

During the daylong dharna, speakers including Mr Inderjit Singh, chairman of the United Forum, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, district unit secretary, of the SNEA (I), Mr Puri, Mr A.P.S. Chawla, Mr Balram Dutt, Mr Harbhajan Dass, district unit president and Mr Baljinder Singh Khalsa served a warning to the BSNL management against delaying tactics. They saught an immediate acceptance of all pending demands.

The leaders of United Forum observed that by forcing the unions to resort to the path of agitation, the management was working against the national interest in view of the fact that the BSNL executives and engineers were the backbone of national telecom infrastructure. The trade union functionaries of other sister unions - the National Federation of Telecom Employees and the BSNL Employees Union also expressed their concern over deliberate delay by the authorities in accepting the genuine demands of telecom executives.

The speakers asserted that the agitation, including chain hunger strike, would continue as per the stipulated programme till the BSNL management saw reason and arrived at a settlement with the protesting bodies.



Pensioners to gherao Vidhan Sabha
Our Correspondent

Samrala, March 16
The Punjab Raj Pensioners Mahasangh has decided to gherao the Punjab Legislative Assembly during its Budget session on April 6 at Chandigarh. The mahasangh has served an ultimatum on the government stating that demands of the pensioners be accepted by March 20.

Before the gherao a rally will be held at the bridge market, Sector 17, Chandigarh, on April 6. Agitators will march to the Assembly. The demands include constitution of the 5th Pay Commission for employees, award of house rent allowance to pensioners as per election manifesto of the Congress party, grant of travel concession, free electricity to PSEB pensioners on a par with regular electricity employees. Fixed medical allowance at the rate of Rs 500 per month, 50 per cent concession in bus fare to pensioners.



Ghani Khan’s descendant honoured
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, March 16
Zahoor Ahmad Khan, the seventh descendant of Ghani Khan, was overwhelmed by the honour given to him during his visit to this town on Sunday. “I have never received so much of affection and honour even at my native land,” he said.

A large number of residents turned up when Khan visited Gurdwara Ghani Khan Nabi Khan to pay tributes to his ancestors, Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan.

Khan said his father, Ismayel Khan, belonged to Kalanaur village in Gurdaspur district. He said earlier he had visited this town in 1957.

He brought with him “hukamnama” which was given to Ghani Khan and Nabi Khan by Guru Gobind Singh. The “hukamnama” was attested by the SGPC in 1928, claimed Khan.

Khan was presented a siropa by Gurmeet Singh, manager, Gurdwara Charan Kanwal Sahib. He was also honoured by Mr Tehal Singh Aujla, president, arhtiya association, Mr Lakhbir Singh Aujla, Mr Jagdish Singh Brar, chairman, International Sikh Museum, councillor Ujagar Singh and Mr Harchand Singh. He was presented a portrait which was made by Mr Jagdish Singh Brar, Head Granthi, Gurdwara Ghani Khan Nabi Khan.



One hurt in train-tractor collision
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
One person was seriously wounded in a collision between a train and a tractor-trailer at an unmanned railway crossing near Rajguru Nagar this evening.

According to police sources, the tractor- trailer got stuck on the railway track and the train rammed into it. The driver of the tractor who was hurt was yet to be identified.



House burgled
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 16
A daylight burglary took place in the house of an MC employee at New Professors Colony near Rajguru Nagar here today. It reportedly caused panic among area residents most of whom are the salaried class and had to leave their houses unguarded during the day.

According to Major Singh, an employee with the Octroi Department in the local municipal corporation the thieves decamped with Rs 30,000 cash and over 50 grams of jewellery besides some other valuables and house hold items.

The burglars were two in number and had come to the house in a Maruti Zen car. His neighbour, Dr Sukhdev Singh, a teacher in the Human Development and Sociology Department saw the two burglars and tried in vain to catch them.


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